Stocking a CHINESE Pantry

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Looking at the ingredient list for some Chinese dishes is often enough to have you running straight to your local takeaway, but before you order your “201, Sweet & Sour Pork”, look at the recipe again. Now compare that Chinese recipe to another. Notice any similarities? Most Chinese dishes are actually made with the same basic ingredients; these are added to a dish in varying combinations and quantities. Of course there a number of dishes that will require a few additional ingredients but generally you can do a lot with just a few key pantry items. Here’s my recommended shopping list to stock your Chinese pantry:

The Essentials:

  • Light Soya Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Dark Soya Sauce
  • Shaoxing Rice Wine, substitute with dry sherry
  • Sesame Oil
  • Potato Starch or Cornflour

Optional Ingredients:

  • Chinese Black Vinegar (Chinkiang Vinegar)
  • Chilli Bean Paste
  • Preserved Black Beans
  • Bean Paste
  • Hoisin Sauce

Sourcing your ingredients:

Thankfully these days you are never very far from a Chinese supermarket! If you don’t know where your nearest Asian supermarket is located then I suggest you ask your local Chinese restaurant owners where they source their ingredients from, they should know all the best places to stock up on your essentials! However, do not despair if your don’t have access to any Asian supermarkets as many of the essential items are available at most major food retailers. Regardless of where you source your ingredients, I would always recommend purchasing actual Chinese brands as these invariably taste more authentic as they are usually geared towards a Chinese palette.

If you would like some great Chinese recipes, please follow this link to my Chinese Recipe Section:

Asian Supermarkets in Cape Town:

Mainland China Supermarket
Grove Building, Grove Ave, Claremont
021 683 7298

Mun Fong Chinese Supermarket
Fruit & Veg City Centre, Monte Vista Boulevard, Monte Vista
021 558 7840

N1 City Asian Supermarket
Shop 22A N1 Value Centre, 1 Solly Smiedt Street, Goodwood

96 Chinese Supermarket 
94a Monte Vista Boulevard, Monte Vista
021 558 0199



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